The Great No-Soap Experiment

Is there a skin-care product any of us use more than soap? We rub the stuff on our bodies daily — whether it's in the form of hand soap, body wash, or facial cleanser. But, have you ever taken a second to consider what exactly is in your soap?
"Soaps have detergents or surfactants in them, to break down debris and dirt and wash them away," says dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD. Surfactants lower the surface tension between liquids and other substances — that's what makes soap allow water to penetrate more fully. The fact that soap foams helps water get under dirt and grease more easily.
When people talk about their "issues with soap," they're mostly talking about ingredients that strip your skin of its natural oils and irritate it. Dr. Tanzi says that one such ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate, because it can be "particularly irritating."
We wanted to test-drive what would happen if people were asked to scrub with alternatives to the typical suds. So, we hunted down four soaps that didn't contain SLS — or any "typical" soap ingredients — and asked four brave staff members to try 'em on their bods.
And, in case you're wondering, we didn't have to quarantine these poor souls into their own, stinky corner. Click through to read the results.